Any talk here about wickets is as ambiguous and uncertain as is normally in India. At the moment, no one here seems to have a clear idea as to how the wickets will turn out to be in the Champions League, and what the par score could be.
The range, as far as par score is concerned, is from 140 to 200, and, as for the likely nature of the wicket, it spans from plain 'no idea' to 'on the slower side with spongy bounce' to 'wickets being helpful to the seamers.'
Johan Botha, who will play for the Warriors, reveals the reason for this ambiguity. "I have no idea how the wickets are going to behave. We have never played so early in the year," he said.
The Champions League will kick off the South African season, immediately after the country has seen the back of winters. So, one would tend to believe that wickets will be fast paced and have a good carry as they would be fresh.
Players, however, tend to differ. "I don't think wickets will be very different from what they were during the IPL. It will be early season, there will be moisture and the temperatures will be in 20s. So, wickets won't be really dry and hence they are going to be on the slower side," said Albie Morkel.
Makhya Ntini, however, feels the wickets are really going to be bowler friendly. "We will have good bounce and pace as the wickets would be fresh unlike they were during the IPL here. So, batsman will need to adapt," he said. Chris Scott, the curator at the Wanderers, has different ideas. "We will make the wicket as flat as possible, and the score we are looking at scores of 180 to 200.
Given the diverse views, it's quite clear that teams wouldn't know what to expect. And that could be a bit disconcerting for the teams, especially the IPL teams as they are already under some pressure to prove themselves in the CLT20.
Moreover, the non-IPL teams believe they have a huge advantage over the more fancied IPL teams in that they aren't as close-knit units as them.
“We play our cricket together, know each for years, and have a better structured team,” said Jean Symes, a Lions recruit. Morkel, a Chennai Super Kings player, couldn't agree more with him.